Anyone who knows me, knows that I just recently turned 30, and that it was a really huge deal for me. It probably came up in every conversation I was a part of, starting during the second half of my 29th year. Somehow, turning 30 was always a huge milestone in my head; part self–inflicted, part society–inflicted. I knew that 30 is the new 20, that there’s no such thing as having your sh*t figured out magically when the clock strikes 30 and etc., etc., but I just felt like I wasn’t ready.
Then the long anticipated day came and went. No pomp and circumstance. No tears or fireworks. It was a Monday. The sun came up, everyone went to work, and I did my birthday tradition of going to my favorite café, getting an almond milk latte (iced, because it was a hot day), and journaling. I had a nice dinner with just the closest of family, and I was in bed by 10:30 PM, because that’s aging. It was a beautiful day in the most simple of ways.
Here’s how my life has changed on the flip side of youth after turning 30:
The grays are attacking. It’s pretty lousy, but I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’ll either have to be a silver fox soon, or I’ll just have to live the second half of my life blonde. Which might just be fun. In the meantime, I found myself some non-toxic hair color, and I begged my mom to color my hair (because turning 30 actually didn’t do much for my bank account, unfortunately, and I’m still a girl on a budget who prioritizes travel above all else).
I’m doing this whole unapologetic honesty thing. And I like it. This started on the cusp of my 30s–instead of being passive-aggressively honest, or just bottling up my anger, I started telling the genuine, honest truth. When a friend let me down, I let him know, and then I forgave and forgot. When I felt like a service provider was reckless with my business, I told them honestly, and a really great conversation came out of it. It’s a concept that’s championed by Kim Scott, and she calls it Radical Candor, and I’m absolutely in love with it–I’m just walkin’ around telling everyone honest thoughts, without aggression or crippling empathy–just straight forward; it doesn’t get any better than that.
I started flossing. I used to think I didn’t have the time for this mundane activity, but a recent trip to the dentist persuaded me otherwise. So now every night, I take joy in taking care of my gums, and I go to sleep feeling really accomplished.
I’ve understood I’ll never get my sh*t together. And I love it. As a kid, I would look up to adults and think they had everything in order; that they never had bad days, that they were never confused about what they’re doing with their lives, that they were happy and confident at all times. It was my version of finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist when I realized this wasn’t true. Though a bit disappointing because I was definitely looking forward to a life of having it all figured out, I’m actually quite enjoying living life knowing we’re all just fumbling our way through it, myself included.
I’m preparing for the butt sweat. Seriously. Turning 30 and talking about it non-stop has taught me that everyone has their own theory about aging, and what happens as the years accumulate. My favorite came from a friend of a friend, who told me that butt sweat on hot summer days only becomes a thing after you turn 30. I must be a little developmentally behind, though, because it has yet to happen to me, but when it will, I’ll be ready.
I’m calmer. Which doesn’t mean much because I might be the world’s least calm person, but I feel myself starting to calm down and settle into my own skin. I’m a clumsy, awkward mess, and at this point, I’ve realized there’s just nothing that can really be done about it.
I now know: stories > $$$ . I lost my dad in my 20s. It sucked really badly. And I realized, that this thing that so many of us are busy chasing in life–money, houses, iPhones–it doesn’t really last. We’re not Egyptian kings who get buried with our gold, and at the end of the day, at the end of a lifetime (which will happen to 100% of us), the only thing we leave behind is the impact we have on others: the stories. I am acutely aware of the fact that I’m going to die (this doesn’t make me morbid, it makes me realistic), and I have every intention of laying on my deathbed and thinking “I’m ready, I did it all, I lived my life fully and completely.” When I’m gone, I want those who knew me to say “She was really a riot, remember when she convinced us it was a great idea to [insert something that’s not at all a great idea but ends up being a great story]”.
I still refuse to use the services of the post office. No good news has ever been delivered in the form of a letter with a stamp, and I continue to stand firmly by that, even now that I’m older and wiser. I still only get the mail once a week, at most, and I like it that way. Maybe, just maybe, this is something that will change in my 50s.
Have you recently reached a major birthday milestone like turning 30? What’s changed for you (if anything)?
Also by Irina: The *Real* Story Of How I Built A Successful Company By Age 30
Related: Bikini Competition Was My 30th Milestone. Secrets Of A Vegan Bodybuilder
6 Lessons I’ve Learned By My Late 30s
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Photo: Johannes Wredenmark on Unsplash